As we live in the 21st century, the use of technology, in every field, is at its pinnacle. The same goes for drums. The hardware of the “real” drum machines has progressed and got better with the use of technology. Wondering What’s the best beat machine to buy?
A good beat machine can help you create fascinating grooves and beats. But with myriad options available in the market, selecting the best beat machine can be a challenging task.
We are providing a complete beat machine buying guide followed by a review of six best beat machines, to make this decision easier for you. So let’s begin!!
Here is the list of six Best Beat Machines:
- Roland TR-8S Aira Rhythm Performer with Sample Playback
- Alesis SR-16 Drum Machine
- Roland AIRA TR-8 Rhythm Performer
- Arturia DrumBrute Analog Drum Machine
- Korg Volca Beats Analog Drum Machine
- IK Multimedia UNO Drum (Analog Drum Machine)
What is a Beat Machine?
Before understanding features, let’s understand what a drum machine or a beat machine is. Beat machine is a “synthesizer specially programmed to reproduce the sound of drums and other percussion instruments in variable rhythms and combinations.” So, a beat machine helps to produce appealing and realistic music and sound it more professional.back to menu ↑
Features to Look For
Be it for professional or recreational use, it is important to understand the features to look for in the beat machine. This will help you make an informed decision.
- Portability: This feature can come in handy while carrying the machine. Look for features such as weight and access to power.
- Digital compatibility: Look for machines that support MIDI. These devices can be connected to all digital devices such as phones and iPods.
- Size: You can select the size based on your needs and where you will be playing the beat machine. Smaller machines are better than bigger ones, except that bigger ones are easier to use. But small machines are easy to carry and maintain.
- Sound changing: Go for a machine that allows sampling and customizing it as per your needs. This allows you to upload your favorite beat and then personalize it.
- Sound quality: Various brands and models have different sound types, such as warm and thick. So, before deciding to buy select the one that suits your needs.
- Memory: If the machine has a good memory, it will support storing many patterns. So, they are a better choice.
Moreover, beat machines are available in various price range. So, you can consider budget and requirements while making the final decision.back to menu ↑
Best Beat Machines
This beat machine is our top pick for various reasons. Roland is one of the leading brands in the world of beat machines. Roland TR-8S has loads of features to help you produce a gripping groove.
Various advances have been made in the original model, TR-8, for an exceptional beat machine. It has an improved pattern memory and additional keys that make the beat sound more realistic.
What we like the best is the real-time selection of beats. We are also in awe with the sound integration. Moreover, it can play the sequences in alphabetical order. You can also go back and forth between various segments of the song.
For a personalized experience, you can even upload your sample and play in the sequencer. You can tweak the uploaded and analog samples. Furthermore, hands-on feel makes this machine a great choice to be played in live settings. A single groove box drum pad and multiple knobs support this function.
So, with various features and flexibility, this machine has everything one could ask for in a modern beat machine.
- Built-in 16-step sequencer
- External SD card storage
- 128 user drum kits and patterns
- Onboard effects including delay and reverb
- 16-character LCD display
- Supports uploading a sample
- Eight sequence
- Easy to use
- Autofill feature is just average
It is a great option for someone who prefers simplicity in their beat machine. This beat machine was produced in 1990 and is still popular for various reasons. We like the simplicity the device offers. It is compact, lightweight, and easy to use.
Alesis SR-16 drum machine includes equalization and compression and reverb to create your favorite style. It also comes with an LCD screen and 12 velocity-sensitive pads.
You can now launch various patterns from the pads with the Pattern Play Mode. Moreover, a 32 MB soundtrack supports 50 bass tones and 500 drum tones.
An important function of the Alesis SR-12 drum machine is the dynamic circulation, which changes the sound tone related to the striking force. This beat machine is among one of the best drum machines for live performance.
- Embedded 233 professional sounds
- Power supply included
- Built-in digital effects
- Complete MIDI support
- 12 velocity-sensitive pads
- 233 preloaded professional sounds
- 2 footswitch jacks
- Easy to use
- Compact and lightweight
- 50 preset kits
- Groove box quality is just average
- No back light
One more great pick from Roland. We love the fact that this machine provides the authentic sound of the TR series and also flexibility and ease of control at the same time. It is basically a perfect blend of two Roland groove boxes.
Roland AIRA TR-8 machine is easy to play with menu-free accessibility. Now you can transmit your note data and add dynamics to your beats with ease.
The sound quality makes it a great option for live performances as well. The color-coded buttons and knobs support seamless functioning.
One more feature that has caught our attention is the vintage design and the retro-look
Furthermore, each sound has a specific and dedicated channel that enhances sound-shaping options.
- 16 kits made up of 11 different instrument types
- Build dream kits include various instruments from the TR-808 and TR-909
- Control Accent function
- In-build Side Chain function
- 16 per-step pads with full-color LEDs
- Vintage design with modern sound features
- Pocket friendly
- In-built gated delay and reverb effects
- Shaping and editing facilities are just average
This a great option for those who don’t want to miss analog experience. It is also an ideal choice for anyone who wants a modern beat machine while not shelling out too much.
While being similar to the Roland TR series, this beat machine has a highly powerful synthesizer. It also comes with 17 analog drum sound generators, 10 customizable sounds and 10 channels.
So, with all the knobs and channels, we love its performance and the fact of how easy it is to operate this machine. Moreover, with so many functions you can try any style you love, such as fancy styles, dub, or hip hop.
With a Steiner-Parker output filter, you can easily produce LPF or HPF sweeps. You can even bypass it with a single button press. Furthermore, it has a huge 64-step sequencing and massive sampling memory.
- Multiple sync options
- 12 audio outputs
- Various sync options
- Two flavors of kick drum
- Analog Reverse Cymbal
- Pattern looper
- 64-step sequencing
- 17 analog drum sounds
- Value for money
- Powerful sequencer
- Automation of parameters not possible
This is the second analog machine on our list. Korg Volca Beats is a new addition to the Volca family. The features make this beat machine ideal for beginners or those who need to carry their machines often. This is also one of the best drum machines for hip hop.
It comes with 10 analog sounds, which include six PCM and four drum sounds (best of both worlds!). The 16-step sequencer is easy to understand. Furthermore, the control is intuitive, and thus customizing loops is really easy.
The parameters make it easy to create the desired drum sound. Moreover, it has built-in speakers that facilitate hearing what you make.
Battery power makes it easier to take this machine with you.
- Powerful analog sounds
- Loop sequencer
- Electribe-style 16-step sequencer
- MIDI In for note entry
- 8 memory patches
- Optional battery power
- In-built speakers
- Optional battery power
- Sync out and in easy
- Built-in speakers
- Power supply not available
- Some users are not happy with snare quality
The unique feature of this beat machine is that it is made entirely of plastic. This makes it lightweight and portable; however, you have to be extra cautious not to damage it.
We are also impressed by the layout. IK Multimedia UNDO drum machine has clearly labelled 7 rotatory knobs at the top. Below these are basic transport controls. After this comes 10 large buttons to play or select the desired sound.
Furthermore, there are 2 small buttons for roll and stutter and 16 step-selection buttons for the sequencer
Another amazing feature, especially for a newbie, is that it comes with 100 preset drum kits. You can even edit these kits and create and save your customized kits.
Furthermore, it comes with 6 percussion sounds and 54 PCM sounds. You can use 12 elements between digital and analog sounds.
- 100 song presets
- 16-step sequencer
- 6 drum sound and 54 PCM sounds
- Multi-touch live mixer
- Built-in compressor
- Simple and easy-to-use features
- Good for both studio work and live performance
- Not robust
- Battery life is not great
Wrapping it up!!
With multiple drumming machines available, select one can be a challenging task. Look for features such as portability, sound changing, and digital compatibility before selecting one. Hopefully, our review of the best drum machine will help you in making an informed decision. Happy Drumming!!